Business Men

Value is a vital element to sales success for 2017, according to insights from Peter Ostrow, Research Director of Sales Enablement Strategies for research advisory firm SiriusDecisions.

In an exclusive interview, the Value of Value Selling & Marketing, Mr. Ostrow revealed new research and discussed the critical role “value” can play in meeting new buyer demands, driving higher win rates and getting more sales reps to meet or beat quota goals.

Peter was quick to reveal research that shows just how hard it can be to achieve these goals in 2017, as the buyer’s decision-making journey has become more complex.

He offered three tips to excel in 2017:

#1: Buyer journeys are tougher to facilitate. 

For a typical deal, Mr. Ostrow indicates 43% of opportunities now have five or more stakeholders involved in each purchase decision and the vast majority of deals have two or more departments involved (76%).

As a result of more stakeholders and departments, it is more difficult to gain consensus amongst these different constituents: each with their own challenges, solution vision, and what “value” means to them.

With so many involved in the decision-making process, your sales reps are likely not getting audiences with all involved. They now have to rely on mobilizers / champions to make the case and build consensus. Facilitating your sales reps to collaborate with the mobilizer/ champion so they can clearly and confidently convey the unique value of your proposed solution internally the key between a solid win, or disappointing loss.

#2:  It’s absolutely not about price

Sales reps will tell you they lost the deal because the price was too high, but that may not be the case.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Mr. Ostrow indicates that a mere 9% of buyers rated “price” as their key-deciding factor.

Your buyers are definitely concerned about the economics of each purchase decision, but care more about the unique business value and ROI you can deliver, and a smooth / better buying experience versus price.

#3: Value articulation remains THE top quota challenge

A paltry 41% of sales reps currently meet or exceed quota goals. According to Mr. Ostrow, this means a whopping 59% are falling short each year.

So why the quota challenge? Each year, SiriusDecisions surveys sales execs to find the root cause. And this year, the quota shortfall was not a lack of qualified leads, sales training, product mix or social selling skills.

Over 71% of executives indicated the #1 issue was the “inability for sales reps to articulate unique business value”.

Unfortunately, this was the sixth year in a row Value was the top issue, since way back in 2011. Old habits die hard, as the majority of prospect engagements revolve around demos, features and price, versus the differentiating value that buyers need to understand.

For another year, it is clear that sales reps are just not equipped to properly communicate and quantify value to prospects. It is obvious they need not just training to shift from features / price to value, but much more direct guidance, support and tools to fuel value conversations

In order to make sales quota, sales reps must be empowered to easily assess, articulate and quantify your unique value to each unique prospect.

When it comes to value selling, and the use of what SiriusDecisions calls “Value Actualization Tools”, brand new research on buyer sentiment indicates:

  • The Tools are best received by and leveraged with prospects in Manufacturing, Technology & Financial Services
  • 40% of IT professionals like to be engaged with these Tools vs. other personas, despite the fact that the majority of technology purchase decisions have shifted to the business.
  • Tools are more likely leveraged for Committee vs. Independent decisions
  • The Tools are used by 57% of procurement & sourcing professionals, demonstrating that a case for value vs. price can be made.
  • The Tools are leveraged by larger companies, with those prospects >$50M , 24% likely to use / apply in their decision making
  • The younger generation of prospects leverage these Tools for their decision making process.

The Bottom Line

From the SiriusDecisions research, your 2017 sales reps need to be better enabled to navigate the consensus sales and buying committees, evolve from price and discounting, and better communicate and quantify value.

Are you arming your sales reps the value content, training and actualization tools they need to succeed in 2017?

Tom PiselloToday’s post is by guest author, Tom Pisello, CEO and  Founder of Alinean, which help you better communicate and quantify your unique value in every customer conversation.